Choosing Traditional or Trade Schools

A four-year university is not the only option for high school graduates



With barber shops and hair salons closed, hair dyeing and cutting seems to be a popular activity for those stuck at home.

  Students having to decide their future when they’re as young as 14 years old – still uncertain about that choice, but having no other option other than rolling with it – is what most Granite Bay High students face.

  Friends, family and other adults continuously questioning what your future holds and putting pressure on career choices causes excessive stress for many students.

  “Probably the start of freshman year I knew what I wanted to do, but I was stressed about it because I had no idea what to expect,” senior Nick Heiskell said.

   Not realizing all the options at GBHS, many go through these four years with a blind eye.

  “It’s in the single digits (the number of students) that come to me and ask what I know about trade school or a training opportunity,” Career and Technical Education program instructor Steve Dolan said.

  Luckily, however, there are still many great options out there for students who are not quite sure what the future holds for them.

  “I hope teachers have given students enough information or planted a seed when they’re in high school to turn to some of the careers that do not require a four-year education” Dolan said.

  Many businesses have options for students to learn a certain trade and work from there.

   “Intech Mechanical, (an engineering contractor) in Roseville, has a system to bring in a young person –  (who) is committed to what they do –  coming out of high school (and) paying them while they train them,” Dolan said.

“They can make incredible amounts of money as a 20- or 21-year-old, with zero debt. Within about two years they will promote that person at at least ($70,000).”

  Dolan said that at Sacramento State, students can progress through their training program and learn to design, fabricate, assemble and work on job sites.

  The program will assign students to a construction management program where they can be employed and still earn their degree. Essentially, these students are being paid to learn.

  Though many communities don’t have more of a sense of all the benefits to going to a trade school, one is guaranteed – no college debt.

 “I wish more students would pay attention to (the fact) that you’re not building up college debt,” Dolan said.      

 The Institute of Education Statistics estimates that 40 percent  of attendees at a college dropout before completing their degree.

  “I don’t think many people know it’s an option because a lot of parents want kids to go to top schools for good education when they probably won’t end up using their major,” said 19-year-old Madison Culp, who is currently an esthetician and works at Atrium Salon and Spa on Douglas Blvd. in Granite Bay. “I don’t think society understands that you can still get a good education at a trade school.”  

  Definitely a pro about trade schools are that students get admitted, get the education needed and get out, ready and prepared to start their future of success.   

   “I went to trade school and it took me seven-and-a-half months,” Culp said.

 Isabella Garcia, a 17-year-old homeschooled student, has decided  she doesn’t need to go to a four-year university because of her eventual profession – cosmetology – and doesn’t need to go to all that school to get a good education and work in the field she wants to work in.

 “I want to get my cosmetology license since I want to be able to do hair, makeup and nails and become a personal stylist,” Garcia said.

 The career choice is not just some low-paying opportunity either.

 “I could be easily making over a $100,000 a year doing personal styling depending on what my clientele is,” Garcia said.  

  Garcia said it will take her eight  months to get her cosmetology license, and then it will be about a month or two more to get her makeup license and start her business.

  Within a year after completing her schooling and getting her license, Garcia will be up and running in her dream job.

   “It’s all worth it,” Culp said.
“I would not change my career for anything.”